Alternatives to Plastic Wrap

The Eco Women have long advocated that it is vitally important to cut back on your plastic use as much as is possible.  One area in which this is crucial is in the kitchen — many plastics leach chemicals into food, whether it’s during food storage or food preparation.  Do you really want oil (the basis of plastic) and who-knows-what-else in your food?

Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people out there who either don’t know or don’t care. This was struck home for Recycla recently.  She was in line at the grocery store and noticed a woman who was loading box upon box of plastic wrap onto the checkout counter to pay.  The woman commented to the employee at the register that plastic wrap was on sale, so she was stocking up.  Recycla cringed when she heard this, but kept her counsel.

What Recycla would have liked to have said is that there are several plastic-free methods of storing food and none of them are expensive:

  • glass jars — This is Recycla’s favorite way of storing food in her pantry and fridge.  She has a nice collection of empty food jars that she has washed and reused repeatedly, as well as several dozen Mason jars.   This type of storage container is essentially free.  If you need to buy glass jars, you’ll find that while they cost a little money up front, they quickly pay for themselves.
  • glass food containers — These are different from jars in that the containers have lids made of different materials (including some food-safe plastic) and that they come in a variety of sizes.  As with Mason jars, while they’ll cost more to purchase, they can be reused for years.  Recycla has several large glass canisters that hold cereal, granola bars, crackers, and other foods in her pantry.  Having everything in glass containers makes it easy to see what’s available.
  • aluminum foil — While some people use glass jars in their freezers, Recycla doesn’t feel comfortable doing this, so she uses aluminum foil.  It’s reusable and easily recycled and definitely not expensive.
  • parchment or wax paper — If you’ve been using plastic bags to wrap sandwiches, try a paper instead.  Unless the sandwich is really goopy and runny, wax or parchment paper should do the trick.  Recycla also uses wax paper to cover open containers in the fridge — rubber bands are the secret to holding the paper in place.
  • plates — When Recycla puts a bowl in the fridge, she usually just covers the top with a plate.
  • nothing — Do you really need to package everything that goes in your fridge? Most fruits and veggies can just go in the crisper unwrapped.

These are just a few ideas to get you started.  Recycla is sure that there are other options and is looking forward to hearing about them.

Tell the Eco Women: Do you use plastic wrap or plastic bags?  If not, how do you store food?

Photo credits: Yahoo Images


5 thoughts on “Alternatives to Plastic Wrap

  1. I’ve been using less plastic wrap. I’ve got glass containers with lids (LOVE them!) and I use plates to cover containers in the fridge. I rarely use plastic bags, haven’t bought baggies in ages. Usually when I need to use a plastic food bag, I have enough bread bags on hand for that kind of purpose (which only comes up when I’m giving food to someone else, actually).

  2. Ditto about wanting to find those large glass cereal containers. I only use plastic wrap on the very rare occasions that I am bringing food somewhere and know that if i use one of my containers it will be lost or not returned. In those cases I have a stash of leftover paper party plates and plastic wrap that I use. It’s been 5 years and going strong…probably won’t have to buy more for another 5 years. I really do need to start trying to buy more in bulk though…as a single person..plastic packaging is my downfall!

  3. I haven’t completely given up plastic, but I’ve cut out a lot of the nasty stuff. For freezing meats, I like wax paper layered with foil. It’s great for preventing freezer burn.

  4. Great suggestions. I do all of those things except for the aluminum foil or parchment/wax paper. I’m trying to avoid all disposables and wax paper is actually a petroleum product too.

    I want to add one more option: stainless steel containers. Life Without Plastic sells some great ones that are actually airtight. I wrote about them a a while back. The only drawback is that you can’t see what’s inside, but you can mark them with a grease pencil.

    And I want to second the glass jars in the freezer idea. I haven’t had one break on me yet. You just can’t fill them all the way up or heat them up too fast after taking them out.

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